Color is all around us. It helps us distinguish differences between similar objects, influences our purchasing decisions, and even sparks emotions. Whether you call it science or a subjective experience, color adds a perceptual dimension that allows us to interpret the world in which we live.
Incorporating colors into your home or office filing system will enhance your ability to identify where information is and find files much quicker.
Here are 3 steps for adopting a color-coded filing system.
1) Choose an Indexing Method
When choosing your indexing method, think about the size of your filing system and how you want to reference your files. Planning in advance will help you avoid filing mistakes later on.
Below are some commonly used methods for color coding. Each indexing system is designed to be relatively simple in nature.
- Alphabetical- This method is used when you want to arrange records according to the name of a patient, client or customer. Simply order your files alphabetically using the first few letters of a name. Alphabetic labels are one of the easiest ways to identify a file.
- Numeric- This method is used to keep records organized in numerical order. Each file is labeled using numbers for locating documents containing purchase orders, a specific date or social security number. Despite the need for some cross-referencing, many large filing systems prefer numeric labeling because it reduces the risks of duplicate files as your system grows.
- Alpha/Numeric- This method combines both an alphabetical and numeric system. Combining both systems will help create a more specific file for customer files, court files, service records, property management files and more. The alphanumerical filing concept is best used when you need to organize files by both words and numbers.
- Terminal Digit Filing- This method places an emphasis on using the last few digits of the file for organizing. Large volume filing systems find this to be most effective because it breaks down large files into smaller groups.
Other color coding techniques include organizing folders with Month, Year and Solid Designation Labels. Each can be used to further detail information in your filing system.
2) Determine Categories
Now that you chose your filing method, determine the major categories you want to organize your information by. A file system might include categories such as financial, medical, administration and current projects.
Once you decide on the categories to use, assign a different color folder for each. For example, we often associate meanings to colors like the color Green for growth and dependability, and the color Red with love or a sense of urgency. Therefore, you might consider using Green folders for financial information and Red folders for current projects that have a high priority.
Choose a color scheme that works best for you. The key is to keep it simple and not over think things. Whether you choose a shelf or cabinet filing system, color coordinating your folders by category will help eliminate wasted time looking for a specific file.
3) Label Your Folders
The final step is to add color-coded labels to each folder. Applying labels to each folder will further separate your paperwork and lead to more efficiencies within your filing system.
As mentioned under our indexing step, you can add pre-printed alpha or numeric labels to each folder tab to organize alphabetically, numerically or by both. Additionally, some folders include tabs that provide plenty of space for writing in your own headings. Whichever labeling method you choose, it is important to use color and not black or white.
Labels work great for filing systems that don't use colored folders as well. Let's say you only have Manila folders and didn't want to purchase new folders. Color-coded labels are a simple, yet affordable solution for adding variation among each folder.
Setting up a color code filing system is easy to do and comes with many benefits. It will help speed up referencing time, locate misplaced files and add structure within your filing system. Experience better filing organization and give color coding a try today.